We Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Dust

“From late Neolithic times in the Near East, right down to our own day, two technologies have recurrently existed side by side: one authoritarian, the other democratic, the first system-centered, immensely powerful, but inherently unstable, the other [hu]man-centered, relatively weak, but resourceful and durable.” - Lewis Mumford, Authoritarian and Democratic Technics

"We Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Dust" is a participatory sculpture project by Los Angeles-based artist collective in collaboration with artists Nadia Afghani and Matt Fisher. The artists created a full size replica of a MQ-1B Predator drone aircraft at Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA), President Obama's alma mater. The drone substrate was cnc'd and brought to the campus for assembly. Over two hundred people helped FS and collaborators hand-finish the drone with an age-old Middle Eastern architectural mud method. This process is still used today to build homes in rural areas of the world, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Northern Africa, where President Obama's drone program is most active. In the dichotomy between the drone's form and its surface, the sculpture initiated a powerful discussion of technology and contemporary foreign policy while inviting multiple propositions about cultural legacies and possible resistances in the era of pervasive global surveillance and warfare.

Project Essay by Matt Fisher

Selected images

Some media:


In addition:


  • “Building a Predator: An art collectives mission to build a drone” Cychron Media Network, May 8, 2014
  • “Obama Orders Unusual Review of Cruelty” Sardonicky, May 3, 2014
  • “The Power of Aesthetic Criticism: Obama and the Arts” Counterpunch, May 2, 2014
  • “We Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Dust: Artists Build Drone at President Obama’s Alma Mater” Creative Time Reports, May 1, 2014
  • “In the arts, Obama presidency a grim muse” Sacramento Bee, April 30, 2014
  • “The Rise of the Drone Master: Pop Culture Recasts Obama” The New York Times, April 30, 2014
  • “Life-size art goes political, symbolic” The Occidental Weekly, March 25, 2014
  • “Under a Tree an in a Veranda with Aandrea Stang” Bad At Sports, April 30, 2014
  • “We Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Dust” OC Art Blog, April 6, 2014